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Annie Gugliotta

Not losing is the new winning in Ukraine – and that’s OK

Almost exactly a year ago, as the first anniversary of Vladimir Putin’s revanchist rampage into Ukraine approached, US President Joe Biden solemnly pledged to back Kyiv “as long as it takes.” Zelensky thanked him, saying “our common goal is victory.”

But the hole at the center of the kalach here has always been this: What does victory mean? In February 2022, merely surviving an onslaught by the world’s fifth-largest army was a major triumph itself. Then, as Western support cautiously expanded and Ukraine began to liberate more of its brutalized territory, the definition of victory grew apace: All of the Donbas. Crimea. Maybe even – “for God’s sake” – knock Putin out of power.

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